(Sweet, Texas, #1)

Release Date: June 25th, 2013
Published by: Avon Books
Genre(s): Adult Contemporary/Romance

My Review: (4.5/5 stars*)

Anything But Sweet is contagious and charming with a sweet Texas blend. This novel is the equivalent of ice cream on a hot summer day—literally. I tore through each page with vigor because I was so enthralled with the story. It goes beyond what the cover shows, it has layer upon layer of character complexity entwined with rich character back-stories that will touch your soul with raw feeling. It has plenty of lighthearted moments as well as equally heartrending ones. Charli is the heroine and she's driven, intelligent, confidant, sassy but can also be whimsical. I loved her character because she's persistent—going after what she wants—believing in herself as much as she believes in others. Then there's Reno Wilder - a Texas bred cowboy of a man whose been through so much loss that he can't deal with letting someone as enticing as Charli into his life for fear of further heartache. He's the alpha male type who is protective, strong, tortured yet caring, generous, and the brooding hero of the story. Reno and Charli were my favorite characters because their banter and tension between each other is irresistibly fiery and mesmeric.

I was worried this was going to be another clichéd story but was more than happily proved wrong. Terry's writing speaks volumes about how refined it is. Anything But Sweet is very much character-driven and the pace at which everything unravels is spot-on. I got lost within the pages as soon as I started reading. The secondary characters are no less interesting, Reno's brothers are mysteriously sexy, and the town of Sweet is full of quirky individuals. I liked that everyone was flawed with scarred pasts yet they battled their inner demons to overcome them. The story isn't all peaches and cream, but rather realistic and relatable. Their is some dark content but it never eclipses the light of the story but nor does that make it any less pivotal. The unexpected yet best part of the novel is the wisdom weaved within—from life, relationships, to death and the importance of moving on and just generally conquering difficult obstacles. It had a bit of everything and I thought what really shaped the story was the emotional conflicts that needed resolving.

Charlotte "Charli" Brooks travels all over the country to give run-down towns makeovers for a living. Reno Wilder loves his Texas hometown called Sweet just the way it is—rustic and charming—but Charli has big plans for it and his business on her televised makeover show. Reno does everything within his power to make the gorgeous city girl think twice about bringing change to his area but her stubborn determination, and extremely high heels refuse to budge. Reno is a cowboy whose resistant to anything new and emotionally dangerous while Charli is looking to shake things up and have some fun if only just for a little while. As their opposite lifestyles collide they find themselves swept away in a whirlwind of change including their initial assessment of each other. Charli will stop at nothing to get what she wants and what she wants is Reno Wilder—bringing change to his life is only the beginning.

I really enjoyed every aspect of this book especially the romance. It was fun, flirty, chalk full of sexual tension and excitement all the way through and the characters pulled me right in. The writing is excellent, the story is absolutely entertaining, and the romance is perfect. The only slight problem I had was that Reno was stubbornly blind at times to Charli's advances. Other than that this was such a sweet read. It's a cute story with a steamy romance that revolves around a small Texas town with a close knit community. Candis Terry expresses her character's feelings and emotions splendidly, and does a wonderful job making the readers believe and feel each and every one. Anything But Sweet made me laugh, smile with satisfaction, and even get a little teary-eyed. I'd most definitely and highly recommend it for new adult & adult romance readers! You'll be utterly charmed by Anything But Sweet!

Goodreads Synopsis:


HE’S STUBBORN AND THOROUGHLY MALE . . .

If Charlotte Brooks thinks she and her TV makeover show can turn Reno Wilder’s hometown upside down, he’ll be happy to prove her wrong. The x-Marine has seen too much turmoil and he likes Sweet, Texas, just the way it is. Traditional. Familiar. A little dull. Everything Charli isn’t. But instead of backing off from his scowls like everyone else, Charli digs in her skyscraper heels.

SHE’S TENACIOUS AND WICKEDLY TEMPTING . . .

Reno Wilder is a one-man unwelcoming committee, but Charli isn’t budging. It’s clear the gorgeous cowboy needs an overhaul just as much as Sweet. Someone needs to break him out of that gruff shell and show him how fun and rewarding a little change can be.

THEY’RE ABOUT TO FIND THAT LOVE IS ANYTHING BUT PREDICTABLE.

LINKS: GOODREADS | AMAZON | AUTHOR | B&N | SHELFARI !

Disclosure: A review copy was provided for an honest review.